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Creating a New Database

The best way to understand the concepts introduced in this chapter is to get some mouse-on experience. Fortunately, FileMaker Pro gives you a quick way to jumpstart a new database.

Although a database can do just about anything, most people want to do a few of the same things (like keep track of their contacts). Accordingly, FileMaker Pro comes with dozens of prebuilt templates: sample databases that you can fill in with your own data and even customize as you see fit. A template is essentially a sample database, without any information filled in yet. Templates let you start up a database quickly, and as you go along, change or expand it to suit your needs. Almost any conceivable database can be built on one of these foundational layouts; see the box on Section 1.1.2.2 for the full catalog.


Tip: if you're the DIY type, see Chapter 3 for instructions on designing your own database layout from scratch.


Since just about everybody in the world needs to keep track of people, a good place to start your FileMaker experience is with a Contact Management database, which does just what its name suggests: It keeps track of people and their various numbers and addresses. This is the template you might use if, for example, you volunteer for a local repertory company and need a place to store the names and addresses of all season-ticket holders. Once you've entered all the information, you can use the database to, say, print letters asking your subscribers for donations to provide new cup holders for the orchestra pit.

1.2.1. Choosing a Template

To start a new database from a template, you start by opening the template. Launch FileMaker Pro (by using the Start images/U2192.jpg border=0> Programs menu in Windows, for example, or clicking its Dock icon on the Mac) and choose File images/U2192.jpg border=0> New Database. The New Database dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 1-4.

Figure 1-4. To choose one of FileMaker Pro's builtin templates, click the pop-up menu and select from a list of categories (some templates appear in more than one category). If you don't want to use a template (you rebel, you!), just click "Create a new empty file," and then click OK. If you never again want to use a template, just turn on "No longer show this dialog." You can always turn it on again, as discussed in the box on Section 1.1.2.2.


Note: Keyboard shortcut aficionados beware. If you're used to typing Ctrl+N (-N) for a new document, you're in for a surprise. In FileMaker, that command makes a new record, not a new file. So when you really do want a new file, you'll have to resort to using the mouse and the menu.


To open the Contact Management template:

  1. In the New Database dialog box, select the Business People & Assets category from the pop-up menu.

    The list shows each template in this category. You can, of course, choose any template that looks like the database of your dreams, but in this example you're looking for Contact Management.

  2. In the Business People & Assets list, select Contact Management.fp7, and then click OK.

    FileMaker displays a standard Save dialog box.

  3. Name the new database and save it somewhere on your hard drive.

    The new database appears onscreen, as shown in Figure 1-5.

Figure 1-5. The Contact Management template is an ideal way to create a simple database that contains information about people, like their names, email addresses, and phone numbers. It can hold up to two addresses for each person, and you can even store a picture with each contacta handy feature if you have trouble putting a face to a name.


Part I: Introduction to FileMaker Pro

Your First Database

Organizing and Editing Records

Building a New Database

Part II: Layout Basics

Layout Basics

Creating Layouts

Advanced Layouts and Reports

Part III: Multiple Tables and Relationships

Multiple Tables and Relationships

Advanced Relationship Techniques

Part IV: Calculations

Introduction to Calculations

Calculations and Data Types

Advanced Calculations

Extending Calculations

Part V: Scripting

Scripting Basics

Script Steps

Advanced Scripting

Part VI: Security and Integration

Security

Exporting and Importing

Sharing Your Database

Developer Utilities

Part VII: Appendixes

Appendix A. Getting Help





FileMaker Pro 8. The Missing Manual
FileMaker Pro 8: The Missing Manual
ISBN: 0596005792
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 176
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